I read something recently about if you find yourself overly worried about every aspect of your life, odds are you're focusing too much attention on yourself. That isn't the exact quote. It was written way more eloquently but I can't find the exact quote so that's what were working with. But either way, eloquent or not, it made me think really hard. When I first read it, the first few words completely resonated with me. I thought "heck yeah!" I always find myself overwhelmed about seemingly every aspect of my life. I'm constantly worried. Then I read the second part. And then I read it again. And then I fully comprehended it. And then I felt like crap. I realized it was completely right. Maybe I pay myself too much attention. It's not a nice thing to find out about yourself. It's not a pretty thing to realize, but it's the truth.
I wouldn't call myself overly egotistical or overly confident, because that's definitely not it. It's not that I'm always thinking of myself because I think I'm awesome. It's just that maybe I'm not thinking about others enough.
I think when we complain about our circumstances, it's obvious we're only looking at ourselves, at our circumstances. We focus on our makeup or that our hair might be a little out of place. It's become a problem. When I'm walking to class, I'm not looking around to see who I can help, I'm not smiling at a stranger. Instead, I'm hyper aware that my flat feet make me walk a little funny and that when I laugh my smile takes up my entire face (and it's not really cute). Instead, all I see is how lost I am. All I can think is what career I should choose, who I should be, where I'm going to live. I'm even wondering how weird Christmas is going to be because not all of my brothers will be home.
I'm not saying these questions and concerns are invaluable. I don't think any worries or thoughts are. I think everything has a point, a purpose, an importance sometimes we can't even understand. All I'm saying is it sort of sucks when you realize the proportion of where you worry is heavily skewed towards yourself. Maybe all we feel and see and can comprehend is our own worry because we aren't looking at others. Honestly, this is weird to talk about. I feel it's strangely vulnerable. If you think about it, it's a pretty horrible trait about myself that I'm putting on the internet, but whatever. I'll continue.
The other night, after having just finished dinner at my house, I packed up all of my bags with clean laundry before heading back to campus for the week. This routine is exactly that: a routine. Not at all weird for me. I think it's funny how the moments that make the most impact are never expected. But I guess it kind of makes sense. We don't expect what we don't expect, ya know? Anyways.
As I shoved my suitcase into the trunk of my car and gripped tightly to a new CD, I did something out of the ordinary, out of my routine. I looked up. Truth be told, I hardly ever look up. And I don't mean metaphorically, I mean physically. I'm always looking at my feet or my phone or my destination or the coffee in my hand or something else, but never up. Honestly, even in this moment, I wasn't really meaning to look up. I was mainly just trying to fix a crook in my neck. But it was when I looked up that my eyes focused on the stars.
And for one second, my typically noisy neighborhood made no sound. It was like everything was put on mute, just for me. There were no dogs barking, no kids screaming, no cars beeping, just silence. All I could hear was my own breathing. It was just me and the stars and the overwhelming knowledge that there are so many more important things to focus on than myself. I've been so selfish. The moments and worries and thoughts that too often plague me are the ones that won't matter in a year. What a waist of energy.
These worries of mine are not infinite, they aren't vast, they are nothing in comparison to the stars in the night sky, nothing in comparison to all the lives around me, nothing in comparison to you. Friends, we are tiny. We are itty bitty specimen, but for some reason we're important. For some reason we're allowed to worry about things and we try to paint ourselves as bigger than we are. But when you look at the stars, there really is no defense. I'm tiny. Just a little speck in a full constellation.
Perspective has a weird ability to completely slap you with reality. I don't think it's ever soft on your mind. I think it's always kind of like that tough love friend that doesn't opt to beat around the bush.
Most of the time when we are stressed, we internalize everything. We shut ourselves up inside the walls of our hearts and put up the biggest fight when someone tries to knock them down. We focus on what we can see. The problem is, too much of the time, we are staring in the mirror. All we see is ourselves. We don't look up. We don't see the sky, the stars, the massive world, the growing collection of lives inside of it.
All this aside, if you can't seem to see the bright side in your situation, maybe you need to look somewhere else. The next time you find yourself shuttering at the thought of tomorrow's tasks or today's trivial, awkward moments, I dare you to look up at the sky or around at the people. Let your surroundings humble you. If all you seem able to do is fret about the small things, maybe you are paying too much attention on yourself. Look up and be reminded. You are important because you are a part of this world, but you are not the world and neither are your fears.